Teamsters Local 237

Protecting the Protectors is Critical to Our Safety

altShortly after the execution-style murder of two New York Police Department officers while sitting in their patrol car in Brooklyn in December, two more NYPD officers were shot and wounded in the Bronx while investigating a robbery. Such incidents are not unique to New York, but are occurring in cities and towns across the United States.

It is evident that we must take steps to increase the safety of our police officers as well as repair the broken relationship with the constituents they serve.

First and foremost, I would like to thank the NYPD for their tireless commitment to preserving public safety for our children, family, friends, workers and visitors to our great city. Your efforts allow New York to continue thriving and maintain its position as a hub for new business, creativity, and a welcoming home for citizens of the world. From keeping our youths safe by monitoring schools to being the first responders at a crime scene, the responsibilities and devotion to our city of New York's Finest cannot be understated. My thoughts and prayers are with the families of Police Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu during such a difficult time.

The tragedy of fallen officers Ramos and Liu has cast a dark shadow over New York in recent weeks and has prompted new efforts to increase the safety of our courageous police officers, who deserve the utmost protection from City Hall.  This includes sufficient equipment and staffing to deal with the dangerous situations they come across. Situations like the encounter officers Andrew Dossi and Aliro Pellerano had while investigating a robbery in the Bronx on January 5th, which resulted in both officers being shot and wounded are a frightening reality for all of our police officers. I am hopeful our leadership in City Hall will continue to take necessary steps in order to ensure the safety of police officers in the line of duty.

In light of such apprehensive times, I urge our leadership, particularly Mayor de Blasio, to work together with other officials to improve conditions for our police officers. As the mayor stated, "Let us move forward by strengthening the bonds that unite us, and let us work together to attain peace."  I challenge officials to not only work together, but to make every effort to unite all New Yorkers on this mission of peace, for this is the only means to reduce the tensions that are significantly threatening to destabilize our beloved city. Councilman Robert Cornegy, whose district is the one where the attack on officers Ramos and Liu took place, should be commended for his leadership in forging relationships between the community and the officers who protect it.

The issue surrounding the volatile atmosphere between the NYPD and the citizens of New York City is a complex one and requires multifaceted solutions. Most importantly, officials must remain calm and level headed in working toward a resolution. This is the only way elected officials, police union leaders, and NYPD officials will be able to foster patient and constructive dialogue. As history has proven, cooler heads always prevail. Antagonism only serves to exacerbate the situation.

Our police officers must feel supported not only by local elected officials but by all New Yorkers. In a poll conducted by Quinnipiac University, as of November 2014 only 54 percent of New Yorkers, compared with 70 percent in January 2013, approve of the way the NYPD officers are doing their job. Moreover, there is a noticeable breach between the police and communities of color, which is apparent not only in New York City, but in urban areas throughout the country. In the same poll, only 34 percent of African Americans and 43 percent of Hispanics approve of the way police officers are doing their job. This is detrimental to both the officers and the constituents which they serve. By building closer bonds between police officers and the citizens of New York we can increase public safety as well as the safety of our officers.

It is evident that a rift between the NYPD and New Yorkers has surfaced in recent months, one that must be mended by officials, police officers, and New Yorkers alike. In times like these the people need strong and proactive leadership from City Hall.

Let us honor our fallen officers by standing with the NYPD during such a crucial and uncertain time. As Mayor de Blasio said, the recent tragic events are "another reminder of how profoundly important the work of our police officers is, as well as the seriousness of the dangers they face every day in the line of duty, " It is critical that we support the men and women who protect us and risk their lives daily with the goal of keeping our city safe.

 

Oral History Project

Hercules Cornish: Caretaker J Stores Man

Herclules CornishHercules Cornish went to work for the Housing Authority as a caretaker J in 1952 and retired 24 years later as a stores worker. He died the year following this interview, which was conducted in June 1999.

Originally I was from Harlem, but when I came out of the service in 1945 my wife had moved to the Bronx, so I moved there, too. I went to work for the New York City Housing Authority in 1952.

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